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Taking Marketing Mobile

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RISMEDIA, Feb. 28, 2008-(MCT)-Valerie Christopherson started out studying centuries-old medieval literature in college but ended up creating a public relations firm that focuses on emerging mobile technologies.

Her company, Global Results Communications in Irvine, California, has grown from a home-based solo venture in 2005 to a dozen employees. Her company’s growth is a reflection of the expanding mobile sector that analysts and industry leaders say is still in its infancy.

Christopherson went to Cal State Fullerton to study the female perspective of medieval literature. But a suggestion from her mother led her to take public relations as a second major.

Her first job out of college was with Mesa Communications, and it was there that she first worked with a mobile client, pager company Pagemart Wireless. That experience led her to the mobile relations field, which she liked because of its fast growth and exciting trade shows.

After 10 years of working for various companies, she burned out in 2005 and decided to take the gamble of starting her own firm. Global Results Communications started in Christopherson’s Mission Viejo, Calif., condo.

A month later she hired her first employee, and after two months she found a small office in nearby Costa Mesa. The company is now in Irvine.

Christopherson found the company’s first client, mobile advertising firm Enpocket, by cold-calling companies to see if they needed help preparing for the September 2005 Wireless Association trade show in Las Vegas. After that, she said, the company grew through referrals.

Global Results distinguishes itself from many public relations firms by focusing on a single industry rather than a specific geographic location.

It also uses new technologies to deliver campaigns: podcasts, webcasts, e-mails and even iPods preloaded with media information.

Global Results’ main competitors are large public relations firms like San Francisco-based Sparkpr. Some of the companies that Sparkpr represents include the mobile division of EA Games and Skyfire, which recently unveiled a free Web browser for mobile phones.

Candace Locklear has been a senior executive at Sparkpr for about 2 ½ years. She said Apple’s iPhone was a game changer for the mobile industry because it showed what was possible with a phone.

“Better access to the Internet, better hardware and better software. … The mobile industry is finally coming around,” she said.

And Christopherson is banking on predictions that mobile will be big. She plans to hire six more employees this year and to keep expanding by planning two years in advance.

So what does she see for the mobile market in two years? Christopherson expects growth in the mobile health care field, advancements in mobile automotive products and more devices that use GPS to track locations and offer local information.

As for fears of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, Christopherson brushes those off:

“That’s the beauty of not being geographic-based. If the economy is not doing well here, I can go to Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong. … I’ve got the whole world cornered.”

© 2008, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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